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London Day 9 – Cardiff and…. Traffic

Short post today, so sorry about that. We only got home a little bit ago because of London traffic… We picked up a car this morning a little after 8am right by our house and made our way toward Cardiff. This was our first experience driving on the left side of the road and the right side of a car. Very different. Kind of trial by fire, really, because driving through London in morning traffic is a bit crazy! I’m sure there are worse times to drive, though (see the tail end of this post).

Once we made our way out of London, we were on the M4, heading toward Wales. The drive was pretty uneventful with one stop to pay a toll, and a lot of pretty scenery on the way. Castle count… one on the side of the road a little ways (impossible to get a decent picture of). Once we went over this HUGE bridge leading in the direction of Cardiff, things started to get crazy. Switch highways here, not too big a deal, but once we were in Cardiff proper, round about here, second left, not the third left, that right over there, left at the church, right at this street, etc… Very difficult drive for someone still getting used to driving on the left side of the road, let alone navigating someplace that names roads in English, Welsh, and by a number (five digits, I think). The GPS was going nuts trying to say all of the names. Eventually, we parked a little ways from the Doctor Who Experience and went in! We were only about five minutes from the next “tour”, we we hopped on, did the main sort of ride portion of it and then wandered around their Doctor Who Exhibition… a museum of costumes, props, etc, of Doctor Who present and past. It. Was. Amazing. I took a lot of pictures, but you’ll have to wait for them (sorry). Lots and lots of pics… I think we were there for about two hours total including wandering their extensive store (pretty much most Doctor Who merchandise [official] all in one spot). Not an exhaustive selection, but enough to put a smile on your face, especially if you’re a kid who loves Doctor Who toys. I would have picked up a set of figures of all eleven doctors, but I didn’t want to take the space in our luggage. Instead, we bought four shirts, an official Experience program, and off we went. I believe we left Wales around 2pm with the thought that we might be able to stop and see some things on the way back and still return our car by 6pm when the place closed. We realized as we started closing in on London that traffic was horrible in the city and it would be a good idea to get back. We were within maybe four miles at one point of the car rental place and then we find out Hammersmith is closed… all entry to the area. As a result, traffic ground to a halt everywhere within about a four mile radius. So, what did we do? We tried to get creative and circumvent the closed area and kept trying to get a solid Skype connection through our Tep Internet connection… To give you an idea, we hit London before 5pm… We managed to get ahold of the place a little after 6 and they told us to take the car to Putney Bridge to drop it off after hours (our only option). I believe it took us over three hours to get to Putney Bridge, another forty five minutes of me walking around to find the place (the GPS was a mess there) and then another twenty minutes and an illegal turn or two to get to the drop off location. The rental place was in one spot and the place to drop cars was right next to it, but no way to drive to it (walkway and fire truck pass only… and, no, it wasn’t possible to just do it illegally or I would have).

Luckily, once we ditched the car, it was an easy walk to a 414 bus stop, a five minute wait, and we were on the bus. We got back to Chelsea around 8:30 pm, I believe, I ran to Tesco to get some groceries, came back, we cooked, ate, and now we have to get to sleep…

Tomorrow early morning we have to get to Earl’s Court to catch an EasyBus to Luton Airport… we’re flying to Ireland tomorrow morning!

That’s it for now… pictures to post when I have a good Internet connection and more than five minutes to do it. 😉

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